No feathers on belly

shodack

Songster
Mar 19, 2015
392
46
121
central NY
So I just picked up my head chicken for the first time in a couple weeks and discovered that her belly (not her neck or chest at all) is completely bare of feathers. It doesn't look irritated and I see no signs of regrowth. I checked quickly for mites (though will do a more thorough check after I do some reading on it) and found no evidence of any creepy crawlies.
She is the boss lady, so I know she's not getting picked at, and I've never seen her pick at her own feathers or act itchy.
I have been dealing with a poor appetite amongst my four pullets (around 9 months old) over the last two weeks, and realized just in the last few days that one, possibly two are going through a molt (at least that I was aware of!). One has tons of pin feathers popping out around her neck. Is a bare belly a sign of molting too?
I tried to find information and found someplace saying it's a sign of broodiness, but she isn't showing any other signs of broodiness.
They eat fermented layer pellets, and I typically throw in some BOSS once a day. Also veggie scraps as I have them, maybe twice a week this time of year. No free ranging, unfortunately.
I live in upstate NY, and we would typically be below freezing for months with tons of snow, but this year has been weird. Rain and much warmer than usual, with a few freezing days here and there. They have been digging a deep hole under the coop to dust bathe in over the last couple weeks.
 
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oldhenlikesdogs

Grateful
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
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This is the second or third post I read about this, I'm going to have to look at my chickens, there are some places on a chicken where there's no feathers, the other feathers cover these areas, under the wings is one and I can't remember where else, but it might be another spot where no feathers normally grow. I will have to look. Otherwise some hens pluck the belly area of feathers to have good egg to skin contact.
 

shodack

Songster
Mar 19, 2015
392
46
121
central NY
I snatched up one of the others while I was out there and she's fully feathered under there (she's a BO and the other is a BA, so maybe a breed thing?). I tried to catch another with no luck.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Grateful
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
45,459
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Wisconsin
Than she probably is plucking her feathers, broody hens will do it, I'm sure some do it just because they are laying, as long as you don't see frantic behavior or excessive itching and scratching I wouldn't worry too much, it's possible if they are roosting in such a way another chicken could pluck her, that's a possibility, otherwise others talk about depluming mites, but I've never heard or dealt with such things, but I would think they would be itchy if that was the problem.
 

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